Cohort study of familial viral hepatitis and risks of paediatric cancers

Julia E. Heck, Chia Kai Wu, Xiwen Huang, Kara W. Chew, Myron Tong, Noah Federman, Beate Ritz, Onyebuchi A. Arah, Chung Yi Li, Fei Yu, Jorn Olsen, Johnni Hansen, Pei Chen Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although viral hepatitis causes paediatric hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatic and extrahepatic cancers in adults, there are few epidemiologic studies on paediatric-cancer risks from parental viral hepatitis. In a nationwide study in a viral hepatitis endemic region and with confirmation in another population-based sample, we examined associations between parental hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) infections and risks of cancers in offspring. Methods: We included all children born in Taiwan in 2004-2014 (N = 2 079 037) with 2160 cancer cases ascertained from the Cancer Registry. We estimated risks for paediatric cancers using Cox proportional-hazard regressions. We checked these associations in a nationwide case-control study in Denmark (6422 cases, 160 522 controls). Results: In Taiwan, paternal HBV was related to child's hepatoblastoma [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.77, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.05, 2.97] when identified at any time in the medical record, and when analyses were limited to hepatitis diagnoses occurring before the child's birth, risks increased (HR = 2.08, 95% CI = 1.13-3.80). Paternal HCV was related to child's non-Hodgkin lymphoma (HR = 2.06, 95% CI = 1.13-3.74). Maternal HCV was weakly related to increased risks of all childhood cancers [all types combined; HR = 1.45, 95% CI = 0.95-2.22]. The population-attributable fraction of hepatoblastoma for maternal, paternal and child HBV was 2.6%, 6.8% and 2.8%, respectively. Conclusions: Parental HBV and HCV may be risk factors for hepatic and non-hepatic cancers in children. If associations are causal, then parental screening and treatment with antivirals may prevent some paediatric cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-457
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Apr 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology


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